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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE DIVISION OF CAPITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT AND MAINTENANCE TO GRANT EASEMENTS TO NSTAR ELECTRIC COMPANY IN RETURN FOR NSTAR RELEASING OR MODIFYING EASEMENTS FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE COMMONWEALTH.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:

SECTION 1. Notwithstanding sections 32 to 37, inclusive, of chapter 7C of the General Laws or any other general or special law to the contrary, the commissioner of the division of capital asset management and maintenance, in consultation with the department of fish and game, may convey or modify permanent and perpetual easements over, under and through portions of property owned by the commonwealth under the care, control and use of the division of fisheries and wildlife in the department of fish and game located in the town of Bourne to NSTAR Electric Company, a Massachusetts corporation, its successors and assigns, solely for the purposes of clearing and keep cleared of trees, structures and buildings and the right to construct, maintain, access, operate, replace, repair, patrol, abandon and remove underground and overhead electric transmission and distribution lines and equipment and poles, structures, conduits or other appurtenances and fixtures along with the construction and maintenance of substation fixtures and appurtenant facilities for the transmission of electricity, subject to sections 3 to 5, inclusive, and to such reasonable additional terms and conditions consistent with this act as the commissioner of capital asset management and maintenance, in consultation with the department of fish and game, may prescribe.

The portions of land over, under and through which the easements shall be granted or modified are more particularly described as a portion of land located at 726 Sandwich road in the town of Bourne consisting of 146,101.39, more or less, square feet or 3.521 acres, more or less, as shown on a plan dated May 7, 2018 titled “BOURNE SUBSTATION PROPOSED EASEMENT MODIFICATION, BOURNE MA” shown as parcels A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H and recorded in the Barnstable county registry of deeds in plan book 675, page 70 which plan is on file with the department of fish and game. Modifications to the easement descriptions in the plan may be made to conform to the requirements of a decision by the department of public utilities and with a final land survey, as accepted by the departments and the division of capital asset management and maintenance, prior to any conveyance to carry out this act. The final survey shall be recorded in the Barnstable county registry of deeds.

SECTION 2. The fair market value of the easements described in section 1 and the land in section 5, or the value in use as proposed, shall be based on independent professional appraisals, as commissioned by the commissioner of capital asset management and maintenance. NSTAR Electric Company shall compensate the commonwealth in an amount greater than or equal to the full and fair market value, or the value in use of the easements as proposed, whichever is greater, as determined by the independent appraisals. NSTAR Electric Company shall assume all costs associated with any engineering, surveys, appraisals, deed preparation and other expenses deemed necessary by the commissioner of capital asset management and maintenance to execute the conveyances authorized in this act. All money paid to the commonwealth by NSTAR Electric Company as a result of the conveyance authorized in section 1 shall be deposited in the General Fund.

The commissioner of capital asset management and maintenance shall submit the appraisals and a report thereon to the inspector general for review and comment. The inspector general shall review and approve the appraisals and the review shall include an examination of the methodology utilized for the appraisals. The inspector general shall prepare a report of the review and file the report with the commissioner of capital asset management and maintenance and the commissioner shall submit copies of the appraisals, the report thereon and the inspector general’s review and approval and comments, if any, to the house and senate committees on ways and means and the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on state administration prior to the execution of the conveyances authorized in this act.

SECTION 3. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, on the effective date of this act, the division of fisheries and wildlife in the department of fish and game may grant a temporary license, not to exceed 5 years, to NSTAR Electric Company, to provide NSTAR Electric Company with immediate and complete access to, control of and liability and responsibility for the easements described in section 1 for the purposes of this act until the conveyances authorized by this act take effect. 

SECTION 4. No instrument conveying by or on behalf of the commonwealth an easement described in section 1 shall be valid unless such instrument provides that the easement shall be used solely for the purposes described in this act. The easement instrument shall state that in the event that the easement ceases to be used by NSTAR Electric Company, or its successors or assigns, for the purposes described in this act, the easement shall revert to the commonwealth under the care, control and use by the division of fisheries and wildlife in the department of fish and game, upon the terms and conditions that the commissioner of capital asset management and maintenance may determine. If the easement reverts to the commonwealth, any further disposition of the easement shall be subject to sections 32 to 37, inclusive, of chapter 7C of the General Laws and the prior approval of the general court.

The terms of the easement shall require that for the installation, maintenance and repair of transmission lines in the easement area, the easement holder shall restore the surface condition to the equivalent or better condition as determined by the division of fisheries and wildlife in the department of fish and game.

SECTION 5. As a condition of the conveyance authorized in section 1, NSTAR Electric Company shall, in addition to any compensation from NSTAR Electric Company to the commonwealth required pursuant to section 2, compensate the commonwealth for the easements described in this act through the release or modification of the easements now owned by NSTAR Electric Company over commonwealth property located at 726 Sandwich road in the town of Bourne, more particularly described as Parcel L on the plan referenced in section 1, with such release or modification of said easements specified in the plan. The easement interest to be released by NSTAR Electric Company consists of 262,869, more or less, square feet or 6.035 acres, more or less, and is shown as parcel L on the plan. Upon the release of the easement by NSTAR Electric Company, parcel L shall be permanently held and managed for conservation and fish and wildlife purposes by the division of fisheries and wildlife in the department of fish and game. If the appraised value of the easement interests therein released or modified pursuant to this section shall be determined to be greater than the appraised value of the easement described in said section 1, the commonwealth shall have no obligation to pay the difference.

Approved, August 9, 2018.